Weekly Digest | TTB Goals, WSWA Files Amicus Brief, Wine Label Controversy, Live CA Hearing
November 28, 2018
By Melani Meister, Sales Manager
In this week’s digest, we explore TTB’s strategic plan for the next five years, WSWA files an amicus brief in the upcoming Byrd Supreme Court Case, Copper Cane is officially ordered to change their labels, winemakers question the U.S. standards for labeling wine, and Legislature’s Wine and Governmental Organization Committees hold a hearing to discuss the impact of state and federal regulations.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) recently released their strategic plan that spans until 2022. Since what this Bureau does greatly impacts every business in the alcohol beverage industry, it’s important to understand how they are working towards their goals and what effects it might have on your business.
The Twenty-first Amendment gives each state the authority to pass laws and regulations regarding the distribution and sale of alcohol. Wine & Spirit Wholesalers of America (WSWA) highlighted this fact in a recently filed amicus brief with the Court in Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Clayton Byrd, Et Al case that will be heard by the Supreme Court. WSWA believes that the U.S. Court of Appeals got things all wrong and that the whole point of the Twenty-first Amendment was to create an exception to the normal operation of the commerce clause, ultimately creating a unique and competitive market.
Copper Cane winery has officially been ordered by the federal government to change the labels on their Elouan wines. These labels claim that their 2017 Elouan pinot noir is made in Oregon and lists specific AVAs when, in fact, it is made in California. Copper Cane is allowed to sell the remainder of the wine in distribution warehouses or on store shelves, which does not sit well with the opposition.
U.S. federal regulations only require partial truth on labels, which causes controversy like the Copper Cane case above. In the European Union, the bar for quality and veracity is set much higher. Should America’s laissez-faire attitude toward labeling be reconsidered?
The Legislature’s Wine and Governmental Organization Committee hearing is being held today, January 29th, in San Diego. It will include several panels of experts testifying about the general status of the California wine industry, a state perspective on federal law and trade, and an overview on which policies have the biggest influence on California wines. The hearing starts at 10:00 am PST and you can watch it live here.